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Knock Knock Knockin on Heaven's Door: A Short Story
(A Short Story by Sivaram Hariharan)
Douglas Tangavel was beyond ecstasy as he looked into the eyes of his beloved master, Lord Jesus himself. His soul had just made the passage from the land of the living to the doors of heaven. He had 86 blissful years of life on earth; a life dedicated to the downtrodden and poor as well as absolute devotion to his Christ. And then his time had finally come as he passed away in deep sleep.
‘My master, my lord, O eternal King of this Universe, I’m beyond bliss to be here in the company of the holiest of the holiest, the sacred of all sacred. Thank you Lord for giving me a great life on earth and the opportunity to serve you when I was there. So glad Lord Jesus, my savior. I just cannot believe that you are here in front of me. Please assure me my Lord that this is all true.’
‘Behold me my child,’ Jesus spoke back to him. ‘This is as true as the stars of this Universe. Have no doubts that you are here in front of your Jesus. Let me extend the warmest welcome to a soul who had dedicated his entire life in my service. From here on Doughlas, you are going to be constantly in my presence for all of eternity.’
‘O thank you my Lord Jesus. Thank you. There cannot be a better place than to be in your presence. This is the greatest reward any true Christian can have. And yet, my heart goes to all those souls back in earth that have still to accept you as their lord and master; souls still to be saved from the clutches of Satan. And in this regard I have one unfulfilled task my master where you have to help with your boundless mercy.’
‘Tell me my child as to what I can do for you in this regard.’
‘You see my Lord, I have a person back on Earth, a close bosom friend Krishnan, who has not accepted you as his Lord and savior. If ever I miss anybody here, it is him and he means to me even more than my family. Throughout my life on earth, I tried in vain to bring him to your path but failed my Lord. My friend Krishnan is a devout Hindu and he is also an outstanding human being. He has led a highly principled and honest life so far and has helped countless poor and needy through his Hindu charitable organization. If anybody deserves to be in heaven, it is him. Alas, he never took the final step of accepting you as his Lord and rejecting his false Hindu Gods. I’m so worried for him as I’m sure that he is going to Hell because of not being saved…’
‘Do you know my child that he too has passed away just after you had,’ Christ interrupted Douglas with a smile.
‘Is it so my Lord.’
‘Even in death you two have not parted.’
‘Indeed my Lord. But then my Lord, I’m afraid that he is headed towards Hell. His soul has not been saved my Lord..’
Suddenly there was the sound of knocking.
‘What’s that sound my Lord,’
‘That’s another departed soul knocking on heaven’s door my child and I’m going to welcome him in with all my love.’
‘The soul of another devout Christian my Lord.’
‘No my child. It is the soul of your friend Krishnan.’
‘How can this be my Lord. He is not saved. He is not Christian. He has not even read the Bible once.’
‘But he was devoted to his Lord in his faith my child and he led a very pious life in his faith through his ancient creed
for which I have the highest regards and respect.’
‘But his is not the true way my Lord.’
‘Who said so my child?’
‘These are your own words from the Holy Bible.’
‘Then you have not understood it properly my child.’
‘There is only one way to heaven Lord as far as I can see and it goes only through you.’
‘Here in heaven my child, the way does not matter as long it is pious and true and filled with true love and devotion. And our Master in heaven does not have a religion attached to him. All faiths are just different ways to the summit of the same mountain in that they are different but the summit is the same end point.’
‘I still cannot comprehend this Lord. It goes against all my professed beliefs.’
‘Let me ask you a question my child and I want a honest answer from you.’
‘Yes my Lord.’
‘If there are two souls knocking on my door, one of whom is a corrupt Christian and the other a pious non-Christian of high values and principles devoted to his faith, whom should I open the door for my child.’
‘I'm slowly beginning to see your point my Lord and yet my heart has traces of doubt.’
‘Let’s go to welcome your friend now. That will remove all your doubts.'
Doughlas was boundless in joy when he beheld his dear friend Krishnan.
'Jai Shree Raam, Jai Shree Raam,' his friend rushed in and fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus. 'O Bhagwaan,
you are just as I pictured you and I'm so glad to see my dear friend Douglas in your company My Lord Raam.'
Douglas became extremely perplexed at this. 'How come he addresses you as Shree Raam my Lord. Can't he
see that you are the Jesus of Nazareth, the only true God of this Universe.'
'Shshhhhhh my child, let me let you in a secret,' Christ smiled at Douglas and whispered into his ear. I appear to your friend not as the Jesus of Nazareth, but as the Lord Raama that he has been devotedly praying to on Earth. In fact, the next soul to arrive after your friend is that of a Sikh and I will appear to him as his prophet Guru Naanak. And the miracle of all this is that they will feel that you are in the presence of their Gods as much as you feel that they are in the presence of your beloved Jesus. Now does this finally make sense my child?’
‘Yes Lord, now my eyes are fully open. O Lord, your mercies are limitless indeed. I can hardly wait to rush into the arms of my friend. Jai Shree Ram, Praise the Lord Jesus, Sat Sri Akaal.’
TRUE SECULARISM IS UNIVERSAL
*The title is taken from a Famous song of the Rock Group Guns'N Roses.